SFJAZZ announced the artist programming for the SFJAZZ Center’s 2015-16 Season running September 10, 2015 to May 29, 2016. The organization is excited to present its fourth and biggest season since the Center’s opening in January 2013. The Center has been recognized as one of the best performing arts centers in the country, continually receiving awards from architecture and acoustic organizations.
The Season begins with jazz giant Chick Corea in four programs over four nights that explore different sides of his genius: solo, duo with Cuban master Gonzalo Rubalcaba, trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade, and duo with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck.
SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors – Esperanza Spalding, Zakir Hussain, Eric Harland and Terence Blanchard – premiere new works. In February 2016, one of the season’s centerpieces will the West Coast Premiere of Blanchard’s opera, Champion, performed by the Bay Area’s own Opera Parallèle. Based on the life of African-American, boxing champion Emile Griffith (1938-2013), the production marks both Opera Parallèle’s first foray into an operatic jazz idiom and SFJAZZ’s first opera featuring full staging and video elements with soloists, a jazz trio, orchestra and Gospel chorus, bringing out the full glory of Blanchard’s soulful score.
For over 30 years, SFJAZZ has presented an annual Sacred Space concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. This fall, SFJAZZ celebratea Grace’s 50th Anniversary with four concerts: a special re-creation, arranged by Miguel Zenón, of Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music (which Grace commissioned for the cathedral’s consecration in 1965) with Savion Glover, Queen Esther Marrow (who sang in 1965), Kurt Elling, Oakland Interfaith Choir and more; guitar wizard Bill Frisell playing solo; a Halloween showing of Phantom of the Opera; and a clarinet summit with Don Byron, David Murray, Anat Cohen, and Todd Marcus.
The season’s programming highlights include Brian Wilson & Al Jardine, Cécile McLorin Salvant, José James, Hiromi, Wayne Shorter, SFJAZZ Collective play Michael Jackson, Brad Mehldau, Merle Haggard, Chris Botti, Maceo Parker, Aaron Neville, Dianne Reeves, Natalie Cressman, Melissa Aldana, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, Cameron Carpenter, Juan de Marcos & Afro Cuban All-Stars, Kenny Barron, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Cassandra Wilson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and other residencies, collaborations, themes, premieres, and projects. There will be special one-night-only performances, special events, premieres, films, and family matinees in the SFJAZZ Center’s Robert N. Miner Auditorium and Joe Henderson Lab, plus special events at Grace Cathedral, and the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.